Jesus' Son is a visionary chronicle of dreamers, addicts, and lost souls. These stories tell of spiralling grief and transcendence, of rock bottom and redemption, of getting lost and found and lost again. The narrator of these interlinked stories is a young, unnamed man, reeling from his addiction to heroin and alcohol, his mind at once clouded ...
Jesus' Son is a visionary chronicle of dreamers, addicts, and lost souls. These stories tell of spiralling grief and transcendence, of rock bottom and redemption, of getting lost and found and lost again. The narrator of these interlinked stories is a young, unnamed man, reeling from his addiction to heroin and alcohol, his mind at once clouded and made brilliantly lucid by these drugs. In the course of his adventures, he meets an assortment of people, who seem as alienated and confused as he; sinners, misfits, the lost, the damned, the desperate and the forgotten. Our of their bleak, seemingly random lives, Denis Johnson creates modern-day parables of a harsh and devastating beauty.
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Johnson takes his main character through a series of events that do not serve to produce a character arch but rather just snapshots without continuity. He is demoralizing, degrading, and depressing - without redemption! The point is not that there is hope, or that there is no hope, rather there is no point. The reader follows the character through his drug induced stupor, with the character doing the sorts of things that druggies do and think is clever, but it is not. This book is a celebration of the lowest common denominator, without direction.
Publishers Weekly, 2010-01-25 Will Patton, award-winning reader of Johnson's oeuvre, brings to life his dark, drug-addled, tragicomic world. Each short story offers another vista on a lost, sorrowful American underworld where recurring characters stumble through dive bars, dead-end relationships, emergency rooms, car crashes, and petty crimes. Patton's narration is pitch perfect; he produces voices for a collection of gritty, bent souls who spend their lost days riding buses, hitchhiking, breaking into abandoned houses, drinking at the Vine, and stealing pills from the hospital dispensary. An absolute must for Johnson fans and a fine introduction to the author's work. A Picador paperback. (Oct.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 1992-09-28 Taking its title from a line in Lou Reed's notorious song ``Heroin,'' this story collection by with-it novelist Johnson focuses on the familiar themes of addiction and recovery. In his novels ( Angels ; Resuscitation of a Hanged Man ) Johnson has shown his ability to transform the commonplace into the extraordinary, but this volume of 11 stories is no better than, and often seems inferior to, the self-destruction/spiritual rehab books currently crowding bookstore shelves. All of the tales, set in the Midwest and West, are told by a single narrator, and while this should provide unity and depth, instead it makes the stories fragmentary and monotonous. Some disturbing moments do recall Johnson at his inventive best, as when a peeping Tom catches sight of a Mennonite man washing his wife's feet after a marital spat in ``Beverly Home,'' or when the narrator 'fesses up to his fright in a confrontation with the boyfriend--``a mean, skinny, intelligent man who I happened to feel inferior to''--of a woman he's fondling in ``Two Men.'' But for the most part the stories are neurasthenic, as though Johnson hopes the shock value of characters fatally overdosing in the presence of lovers and friends will substitute for creativity and hard work from him. Even the dialogue for the most part lacks Johnson's usual energy. (Dec.)
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